The Mabouya Valley Youth and Sports Council held its annual sports awards on Saturday January 25, 2014. The objective of the event was to highlight the personal and team sports achievements within the Mabouya Valley area. “The awards were very well attended and feedback coming from the community was that the venue was a little too small” said Ryan James, a coordinator of the Mabouya Youth and Sports Council.
Speaking of attendance, making their presence felt on the night were President of the Senate Hon. Claudius Francis, Minister of Youth and Sports and parliamentary representative for the Dennery North/Mabouya Valley area, Hon. Shawn Edward, and the District Representative for the area and the Chief Education Officer Marcus Edward and Jim Xavier from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The Mabouya Valley has been very competitive in terms of sporting discipline especially in the sport of football, winning multiple titles on a national level including the Blackheart Kashif and Shanghai Football competition. The STAR was curious to find out how the area is doing in other developmental aspects, and how the Mabouya Valley Youth and Sports Council contributes to aiding such development and enhancing the youth in the area. In order to get a proper understanding of the role, aim and other functions of the council, the STAR sat down with Ryan James.
STAR: What is your role as a coordinator for the Mabouya Youth and Sports Council?
RJ: Well, I would say, sort of the backbone (chuckles). Everything that needs to happen even before taking the ideas to the executive or to the affiliates at a general meeting, comes through me and then I pass it on to the council. When planning an event, I am the one who puts everything together, and then presents the final draft to the executive and to the affiliates.
STAR: What role does the Mabouya Valley Youth and Sports Council play in the the area?
RJ: For the past few years that is an area of concern for the Valley.The Council has not been that active, we have not had activities to bring our youth together to help them, but over the last year we have been trying, especially with the clubs. The idea has mainly been sports-oriented in the past and we’re trying to change that. We are encouraging the clubs to bring in persons who are not sports-oriented so there could be a more all-round aspect of their respective clubs. Actually the Club of the Year winner, Monarch Sports Club of Grand Riviere, did so because they engaged their members in activities other than sports. With activities like educational workshops, karaoke nights and plant-a-tree initiatives, they were able to come away with that award, and this is really what we the council see as our role, to provide the youth of the area with oppurtinities that will benefit them in all aspects of their lives.
STAR: What is the current aim of the Mabouya Youth and Sports Council?
RJ: In terms of the aim for the council at present, well we have our sporting discipline is taken care of. We are now trying to get the actively participating in everything positive, being a means of getting them out there. Last year we held a club consultation and there are certain things that we found out from the respective communities that we never knew about. So we are trying to foster active participation in any training, educational programs, everything that we are aware of whether it be at national, community or district level, anything that can benefit our youth, we are trying to get them involved in it.
STAR: What impact has the council made on the youth in the area?
RJ: I would say that it has made a positive impact, because we have seen a change of attitude in our youth in terms of supporting initiatives that are planned specifically for them. In the past, we would have activities and you would see the elders passing by and a few young persons. But with the new idea of reaching out to the youth, especially those who are not sports-oriented, we are having persons who are showing genuine interest.
STAR: What are some of the plans and activities that the council has organized for this year?
RJ: We are looking at participating again in the National Youth Debate. We have planned our Youth Mass, essay competitions, spelling ‘bees’, general knowledge quizzes and we are trying to work in collaboration with the primary schools in the area to assist us. So we’re anticipating a packed calendar of events for 2014. We also want to establish a ‘mini-parliament’ as we have eleven affiliates and other ‘pocket communities’, we want to get a representative from each so we can come together to discuss our issues.
STAR: I’m sure as a council you are aware of the violence that has taken place in the area earlier this year. Has the council considered or planned any activies based on elevating the youth and helping them focus on being and remaining positive?
RJ: I like that question, because currently we are having meetings on that. The very first day of the year we had the first chopping incident, and then a few days after we had another incident which resulted in a fatality. One
of the issues that we are
faced with and I’m not sure how we can apprach it, is that the ‘guys on the block’ as we refer to them do not want to work, or even if they do they want to get paid hand-to-mouth. We the members
of the council have assisted many of them in getting jobs and because of the time period that they have to wait to get paid (be it fortnightly or monthly) they leave the job. So I don’t know how we can get these guys to change that mind set.
See page 14 for more on the awards.